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SCIENCE
February 4, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Up and down the West Coast, starfish are dying. Casualties of a mysterious disease known as seastar wasting syndrome, they are dying in Alaska, deteriorating in San Diego and disappearing from long stretches  in between. Death from the disease is quick and icky. It begins with a small lesion on a starfish's body that rapidly develops into an infection the animal cannot fight. Over the course of the disease the starfish's legs might drop off, or even separate from the body and start to crawl away, as you can see in the PBS news story below.
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SCIENCE
September 21, 2010 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The dark dust thrown up by human activity in the deserts of the Southwest hastens the melting of Rocky Mountain snow and ultimately reduces the amount of water flowing into the upper Colorado River by about 5%, scientists reported Monday. The lost water amounts to more than 250 billion gallons — enough to supply the Los Angeles region for 18 months, said study leader Thomas H. Painter, a snow hydrologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "That's a lot of water," said Painter, whose study was published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
SCIENCE
January 28, 2013 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
A team of storm-chasing scientists sampling rarefied air has found a world of bacteria and fungi floating about 30,000 feet above Earth. The findings, detailed Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that microbes have the potential to affect the weather. Scientists have long studied airborne bacteria, but they typically do so from the ground, often trekking to mountain peaks to examine microbes in fresh snow. Beyond that, they don't know much about the number and diversity of floating microbes, said study coauthor Athanasios Nenes, an atmospheric scientist at Georgia Tech.
HEALTH
December 4, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Have scientists finally discovered the genetic fountain of youth? Hardly. But by creating a genetic switch that allows them to artificially age — and rejuvenate — lab mice, scientists have shown that it is possible to reverse some effects of aging in mammals. "It indicates there's a point of return if you remove the underlying cause of the aging," said Dr. Ronald DePinho, the molecular biologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School who led the study, published online this week in the journal Nature.
NATIONAL
September 5, 2013 | By Becca Clemmons
WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian National Zoo announced Thursday that the giant panda cub born there two weeks ago is a girl, is very chatty and "has a fat little belly. " Scientists confirmed the sex of the cub, which was born to Mei Xiang (pronounced may-SHONG) on Aug. 23, according to a news release. DNA tests also showed that the zoo's panda Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN) is the father of the cub. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated twice in late March, with sperm from Tian Tian and from a panda named Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo, after unsuccessful natural breeding attempts with Tian Tian.
SCIENCE
October 17, 2009 | John Johnson Jr.
Is 2012 the end of the world? If you scan the Internet or believe the marketing campaign behind the movie "2012," scheduled for release in November, you might be forgiven for thinking so. Dozens of books and fake science websites are prophesying the arrival of doomsday that year, by means of a rogue planet colliding with the Earth or some other cataclysmic event. Normally, scientists regard Internet hysteria with nothing more than a raised eyebrow and a shake of the head. But a few scientists have become so concerned at the level of fear they are seeing that they decided not to remain on the sidelines this time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 18, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
A group of scientists warned Tuesday that world leaders must act more swiftly to slow greenhouse gas emissions or risk "abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes" from climate change. The American Assn. for the Advancement of Science's blunt report contains no new scientific conclusions. But by speaking in plain, accessible terms it seeks to instill greater urgency in leaders and influence everyday Americans. Scientists said many previous assessments have been long and ponderous, and have failed to shift public opinion on global warming.
SCIENCE
May 11, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
In August, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will reach the Red Planet and begin its search for habitats that could have supported life. The next-generation rover, better known by the nickname Curiosity, will pick its way up a mound in the middle of Gale crater and look for evidence that water once flowed on the Martian surface - a condition that is considered a prerequisite for hosting microbial beings. On an expedition to the California desert this month to demonstrate some of the challenges Curiosity will face on Mars, scientists chatted about the upcoming mission.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2012 | By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
The catch of small, schooling fish such as sardines and anchovies should be cut in half globally and the amount left in the ocean doubled to protect the ecologically vital species from collapse, scientists say in a new report. The silvery species known as forage fish are harvested in huge numbers worldwide and are easy for fishermen to round up because they form dense schools, or "bait balls. " But wide fluctuations in their numbers make them especially vulnerable to overfishing, according to the report released Sunday by the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, a 13-member panel of scientists from around the world.
SCIENCE
February 1, 2013 | By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times
Scientists have infused "life" into inanimate chemical compounds by flashing a blue-violet light that prompted them to assemble themselves into a crystal. The feat, described in a study published online Thursday by the journal Science, marks an important step toward creating "active" materials that can repair themselves, such as a smartphone screen that fixes its own cracks or a Kevlar vest that fills a hole made by a bullet, experts said. Showing that microscopic particles can be made to come together or break apart on their own "opens a new area for design and production of novel and moving structures," wrote the study authors, a team of physicists and chemists from New York University and Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
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